VIENNA, January 15. /TASS/. European partners have ignored Russia’s legitimate security concerns and underestimated the situation around the Open Skies Treaty, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to Vienna-based international organizations, wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.
"This is at least the second time in my memory, when European partners underestimated the seriousness of the situation and ignored legitimate security concerns of Russia. The first time it happened in 2007 in the context of CFE Treaty (Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe - TASS). Now it’s the turn of OST (Open Skies Treaty). Regrettable," he wrote
The Russian foreign ministry released a statement on Friday informing that Russia is beginning domestic procedures to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty "over the lack of progress in what concerns the removal of obstacles for its continuation in the new conditions." According to the statement, Russia will issue a corresponding notification to the depositories after these procedures are over.
For years, Washington had been accusing Moscow of exercising a selective approach to the implementation of the Open Skies Treaty and violating a number of its provisions. Russia had been laying counter claims. In 2017, Washington imposed a number of restrictions on Russia’s observation flights over the US territory. Moscow gave a tit-for-tat response. In November 2020, the United States withdrew from the treaty.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in March 1992 in Helsinki by 27 member nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), known as Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) before 1995. The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing crises and managing crisis situations. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. The treaty came into effect from January 1, 2002 after being ratified by 20 countries. Russia ratified the Treaty on Open Skies on May 26, 2001.